British Swim School is a Little Lake County promotional partner.
Summertime means non-stop fun in the sun and pool for most families in the summer. However as mom of two non swimmers it also terrifies me as drowning is a real possibility without good swimming skills. All it takes is for you to look away for five minutes. We all heard about Olympic Skier Bode Millers 19 month old daughter drowning in a backyard pool this past month. This broke my heart yet, inspired me to sign-up my 14 month old daughter, Lillian for swimming lessons at British Swim School – Lincolnshire.
I had previously heard great things about British Swim School, and read about Alli’s experiences at the Round Lake location, however their locations were never close enough to my family. This past month British Swim School opened a new location in Lincolnshire that does work for my family. The main focus at British Swim School is water safety and they work hard to incorporate it into all their lessons, which is what I wanted from a swim program.
The Lincolnshire location is held at the Staybridge Hotel in Lincolnshire located just west of Milwaukee Road and south of Half Day Road. The program here offers a variety of small group classes to suit the littlest of beginners through advanced swimmers, adults and private classes.
When we walked in, the front desk staff directed us down the hallway to the pool. Our lessons were held on a weekday night, so the hotel itself wasn’t very busy. There were only a few business people sitting at tables in the lobby working on laptops. The front desk employees were all friendly and gave my five year old son the wifi password so he could play his iPad during his sister’s lessons which was a nice touch as wifi is usually reserved for hotel guests.
Upon entering the pool area, it is easy to forget that you are in a hotel because it feels like you are in a free standing swim school location. There are signs for British Swim School at the entrance of the pool, as well as a table with information, and a pop up changing room proudly displaying the British Swim School logo. I changed my daughter in the pop up tent, however there are bathrooms available in the pool area for changing if you wish to change in there instead. The bathrooms do not have a changing table.
After Lillian was changed into her suit, we took her into the water. The water at the Lincolnshire location is kept at 87-90 degrees because it is held at a hotel versus a lap pool. This is warmer than lessons at any of the other British Swim School locations held at gyms, as well as warmer than most park district pools. While the adults were not cold in the water, my daughter did seem chilled. The instructor said they have vests available to help keep in her body heat and they will bring them in next time for her lessons. The pool is also on the smaller side which makes lessons feel more intimate.
Our lesson began promptly at 6:00 p.m. and our instructor seemed full of energy and experience. She asked about Lillian’s swimming skills and history:
- Lillian- Has taken lessons in the past, however has not be in lessons for awhile and her skills have weakened. She doesn’t like water on her ears or face. She also is uncomfortable floating on her back in the water and cries while practicing this important skill, however she does like splashing in the water on her own terms.
Our instructor was very patient with Lillian in our 30 minute private lesson despite her tears and explained the goals for her level. They want Lillian to not cry during lessons, do an assisted back float, tolerate the swim ring (to give her some independence), and to do a full submersion. They want to have Lillian be as independent as a toddler can possibly be in the water. Each level has their own goals which are explained on their website. Once they meet all these goals they can level up. Once they level up they receive a new swim cap. Our writer Alli described these swim caps as almost like the karate belts of swimming lessons here.
Our instructor gave us things that we could work on at home in the bath tub to help Lillian progress as well. One of the things they suggested was to blow into her face before submerging her to encourage her to hold her breath. This was more helpful in one lesson than anything we had at previous swim schools with Lillian. It worked immediately. Another skill that they focus on for all ages at British Swim School is getting out of the pool without a ladder. The instructor set a ball on the edge of the pool and encouraged Lillian to climb out, “Elbow, elbow, knee, knee.” I believe I will feel safer near the water when Lillian learns how to do this. Despite her being only 14 months, she was able to get out of the water with little assistance. I was so impressed. Our instructor said i’ts amazing what even the teeniest of babies can do with proper instruction.
Our instructor was like a modern day Mary Poppins. She had a bag of swim toys, balls, dolls, and inflatables to pull out at the drop of a tear, or the switch of a skill. Lillian loved the baby doll that she used to demonstrate how we would hold Lillian.
During lessons, our instructor said most parents sit on the deck chairs and work on their laptops. My son was able to watch his YouTube videos during her lesson which was great to occupy him. We had the whole pool area to ourselves to spread out and relax during lessons. No hotel guests came into the pool area during lessons, and the instructor said that she has never seen a hotel guest come in herself which was one of my hesitations about lessons at a hotel.
Thirty minutes flew by to us. After the lesson, the instructor did not make us feel rushed. Previous swim schools, have kind of pushed us out of the water and only gave us a minute or two long summary about progress or areas to improve. However, our instructor stayed behind after lessons to chat with us and even throw a ball to Lillian to get her to warm up to her more. We never once felt rushed, it felt like chatting with just a good friend. She told us what Lillian did well and what she needed to work on some more as well.
First lesson highlights:
Lillian was able to climb out of the pool with assistance. She also had no problem with her face in the water up to her mouth. Lillian is kind of shy with new people but by the end of the lesson she had warmed up to the instructor more when they were throwing the ball to each other in the end.
Another bonus about lessons at the Staybridge Suites… When we left the pool area we saw that the hotel had food set up in the lobby. After talking to the hotel staff, they said that weekday nights they offer a baked potato bar, a salad bar, and free drinks and alcohol for anyone at the hotel, including guests for lessons. My son said he did not like soda pop and the employees went and got him an orange juice from the kitchen. The staff was attentive and made us feel welcome as they asked us about our lessons. I was so impressed. What could be better than amazing swim lessons teaching water safety and free wine for a mom? We cannot wait for next Tuesday!
Register today at one of their FOUR Lake County locations:
British Swim School – Lincolnshire
Located inside Staybridge Suites 100 Barclay Boulevard, Lincolnshire, IL 60069
British Swim School – Vernon Hills
Located inside Holiday Inn Express Chicago-NW Vernon Hills 975 Lakeview Pkwy, Vernon Hills, IL 60061
British Swim School – Round Lake Beach
Located inside LA Fitness, 540 E. Rollins Rd., Round Lake Beach, IL 60073
British Swim School – Waukegan
Located inside LA Fitness, 452 Lakehurst Rd., Waukegan, IL 60085
Disclosure: British Swim School provided us with free swim lessons in order to facilitate my reviews. No further compensation has been received and all thoughts and opinions are my own.